Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in our society today, and the rates continue to climb. Skin cancer can happen to anyone, so knowing how to prevent it and identify the warning signs is essential. Learn the facts about this dangerous cancer – including prevention strategies, early detection, and getting back to your life after treatment.
Your best defense: prevention
The best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid UV rays, but this goes beyond wearing sunscreen. Choose a sunscreen that you will use every day and that is labeled “broad spectrum” with SPF 30 or above. You should invest in a sun-protective hat, and seek shade between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. If that’s not possible, wear sun protective clothing and diligently and generously apply your sunscreen at least every two hours.
Skin cancer’s many forms
Unfortunately, there is no quick and easy way to diagnose skin cancer. Its appearance can vary widely for each person. Two types of skin cancer, known as basal cell or squamous cell, take on a variety of appearances, including flat, raised, yellow, pink, or even shiny growths on your skin. Anything unusual should be examined by your physician.
The deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma, often begins as a mole or something that resembles a mole. Check any and all moles regularly for changes in size, shape, symmetry, color, or border (commonly called the ABCDEs of melanoma). If you have any concerns about a mole or unknown growth on your skin, don’t wait – see your physician. People who have more than 100 moles are at an increased risk of melanoma.
Life after skin cancer
Up to 80 percent of skin cancers are found on very visible areas, including the head, neck, and face. Treatment may include surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. Your treatment plan will be customized for you, based on the size, location, and type of skin cancer.
Once you’ve had skin cancer removed, your physical and emotional recovery can begin. But for some, the scars left behind can make it difficult to get back to life as they knew it before cancer. If you’re a skin cancer survivor, and are dealing with a bothersome scar or disfigurement as a result of the cancer removal, a board-certified plastic surgeon may be able to help you get back a more natural appearance. A plastic surgeon who is experienced in skin cancer reconstruction can perform scar revisions, skin grafts, and even rebuild body parts.
Reconstruction at Monarch Plastic Surgery
If you’ve had skin cancer removed, and wish to explore options to improve appearance or function of the affected areas, we can help. Request a consultation with Monarch Plastic Surgery, or call us today at (913) 663-3838 for our Leawood and Lansing offices, or at (816) 436-3262 for our North Kansas City location to learn more about how to achieve your best skin at any age.